Briaglia, ancestral magic

Perhaps, more than a vibration it is a union (…) And this union, though rare, is not accidental, as the knowledge that comes from ancient worlds teaches us, when mankind was much more spiritual than now. Namely, when a perfect isosceles triangle was formed, which linked man, even if doomed by his own natural limits, earth and sky.

Federico Buffa

In Briaglia, when for humans fire was still a mysterious magic, wind, rain, lightning, the gods’ mood, something like that was happening. In that valley there was something magical to the Ligurian Bagienni, who, every summer, travelled a long way from the coasts of Liguria to hunt in this area. This valley was a good hunting ground; they could push the herds in an enclosed area between mountains and hills, making them walk into an ambush; a massacre would take place, which would provide enough food for the whole tribe. However, there was more to it. More than six thousand years before the coming of Christ, humans were facing the ancestral mysteries of the world – life, death, masculine and feminine – with terrified amazement, desperately trying to find their bearings in the universe, trying to understand the meaning of their existence in the world, trying to locate the time-space coordinates of their existence just by interpreting the signs of nature. “Being able to read the world’s book, with shimmering words and without any writing”. Bisalta, with its two summits, and Monviso, thus became symbols. Here a gallery, flooded by the sun once a year only, whose beams light up a natural cup, becomes a place where it is possible to communicate with the gods, with the ancestors. Those stones are loaded with an ancient sacredness, which still today is easy to perceive.

The Càsnea

Briaglia, in addition to the breath-taking views on the hills around Mondovì, bears the signs of that era, which is lost in time. Here and there in the village you can find stones carved by nature, which are recognised by the elders as sacred. “Cascina Macramé” is a place of art and education where, among other things, children and adults can learn the secrets of circus art, and where they can see a seasonal clock which has been rebuilt with stones. Talking to the owners could help you learn more about those ancient times and see the small village under a new light. The former church of the confraternity hides a museum, where all the remains from those times are gathered, recovered by archaeologists. Just past the restaurant Marsupino, a sanctuary for gourmets (the actor Renato Pozzetto often visits this trattoria to enjoy a dish of traditional delicacies), it is still possible to see the Càsnea, a natural cave which, once a year, the 21th of December, is crossed by a sunbeam that illuminates the wall at the end of the tunnel. A sacred place to the ancients, it is the longest tunnel of this kind in Europe, except for an Irish site known as “The heap”.

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